Local caterer and a staff of volunteers at Ellie’s Private Chefs and Catering make meals for nonprofit clients
Ellie’s Private Chefs and Catering is accepting donations to help provide meals for Christian Center of Park City and Peace House clients. Donors can send a check to Ellie’s Private Chefs and Catering, 1950 Woodbine Way, Unit 6, Park City, UT 84060. Donors can also contact Shropshire directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 435-602-2734. For information, visit elliesparkcity.com.
Ellie Shropshire, owner of Ellie’s Private Chefs and Catering, had some time on her hands after her cooking engagements were canceled when Park City went into shutdown due to COVID-19.
She had thought about using her skills to prepare meals for those whose work and income were affected by layoffs and shortened work hours, but before she could ask her staff to volunteer, one of her chefs beat her to the punch.
“He called and suggested we all volunteer and make some meals for those in need, and I immediately took him up on it,” Shropshire said.
For the past couple of months, Shropshire and her staff have volunteered to prepare and cook more than 130 meals bi-weekly for the Christian Center of Park City and Peace House.
She has also provided meals to some of the charities in Salt Lake City including Family Promise and a men’s shelter.
The family-style meals have included enchiladas, pasta and flank steak with mashed sweet potatoes, she said.
“We didn’t have a set menu, because when we started, we used the nonperishable food that was in our kitchen when all the events were canceled,” she said. “Since then, we’ve tried to keep the meals simple and healthy. And we wanted to make sure the meals had a broad appeal.”
Shropshire’s volunteers work with chicken, beef and pork, and they have also created some meatless meals.
“We try to cover the spectrum, and we work with what we can get,” she said. “For instance, there was no chicken last week, and the week before there was no pork. Now there is chicken, but no pork. So we go with what’s available, and if we have to pivot, we pivot.”
Shropshire and the volunteers cook and deliver on Mondays and Wednesdays. They start cooking around 9 or 10 a.m., and the meals are delivered at 4 p.m., she said.
Park City Community Foundation suggested the idea of providing the meals to the Christian Center and Peace House.
“I called Park City Community Foundation to initially figure out how to do all of this, and that’s who they suggested, because they serve the people who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” Shropshire said. “Christian Center has seen an increase in need since COVID-19, and I have a great relationship with Peace House, because I’ve catered some of their events. And I’ve noticed that they have also seen an increase in need. So, it just worked out.”
When Shropshire first started preparing these meals in March, she paid for the food out of her own pocket.
“I knew doing that wouldn’t last long, so I sent out an email to some of our long-term and repeat clients, friends and family about what we were doing,” she said. “A whole bunch of people donated money, so we are using those funds to buy the food.”
Shropshire is still accepting donations (see accompanying box).
Shropshire plans to continue preparing these meals for as long as she can.
“We are able to continue through most of June, but I guess it depends on what happens with the quarantine,” she said. “I’m just playing it by ear.”
Shropshire is grateful for her team of volunteers.
“We have four chefs who take turns helping out, and we have a kitchen helper and two more who take turns doing the deliveries,” she said. “We all feel it’s important to support the community, because the community supports us. We’re happy to do something that contributes to the community.”
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